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Passive and active middle ear implants

Keywords: middle ear , implantable hearing aids , tympanoplasty , titanium , middle ear implants

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Besides eradication of chronic middle ear disease, the reconstruction of the sound conduction apparatus is a major goal of modern ear microsurgery. The material of choice in cases of partial ossicular replacement prosthesis is the autogenous ossicle. In the event of more extensive destruction of the ossicular chain diverse alloplastic materials, e.g. metals, ceramics, plastics or composits are used for total reconstruction. Their specialised role in conducting sound energy within a half-open implant bed sets high demands on the biocompatibility as well as the acoustic-mechanic properties of the prosthesis. Recently, sophisticated titanium middle ear implants allowing individual adaptation to anatomical variations are widely used for this procedure. However, despite modern developments, hearing restoration with passive implants often faces its limitations due to tubal-middle-ear dysfunction. Here, implantable hearing aids, successfully used in cases of sensorineural hearing loss, offer a promising alternative. This article reviews the actual state of affairs of passive and active middle ear implants.


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